For many people, the coronavirus pandemic seems kinda over, with restaurants, bars and workplaces wide open; however, danger lurks, in the form of the new COVID variant, called Delta, which is more transmissible than previous incarnations. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, appeared on This Week yesterday to share some good news—but also a warning: you could be in danger, and so could your kids. Read on to see exactly what the concern is all about, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Virus Expert Warned the Delta Variant Threatens Those Who are Unvaccinated Most—Including Our Kids
"So the Delta variant is by far the most contagious variant of this virus we have seen in the entire pandemic," said Dr. Jha. "The reason it makes up 90 percent in the U.K. is because it has just outcompeted every other version of the virus. It's a very, very contagious virus. The good news is the data suggests that, if you've been fully vaccinated, you remain protected, that the vaccines hold up. But a third, more than a third of American adults have not yet been vaccinated. Obviously, a lot of younger kids have not. It's a pretty substantial threat to them. So we have got to get more people vaccinated if we want to get the Delta variant dealt with."
Virus Expert Says It's Important to Determine Where the Virus Originated
"How important is it to the medical community to know the origins of this pandemic?" asked Raddatz. "I think it's pretty important," said Dr. Jha. "I mean, this has obviously been a horrendous pandemic, and we need to understand where it came from, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is it will be very helpful for preventing the next one. If it is indeed from a lab, that means we have got to really think about lab safety at a very, very different level. If it's zoonotic, then we have to put in a very different set of policies to try to prevent something like this. So I think it remains critically important that we figure this out."
Virus Expert Said There's More Struggle Ahead Globally
"Well, we've learned a lot about this pandemic and how to prevent it," said Dr. Jha. "We have learned that vaccines can be developed quickly if the scientific community puts its mind to it. And we've learned that there are still deep inequities in our globe in terms of how the pandemic plays out. Right now, America is in great shape. That's terrific. And many, many parts of the world are struggling. And if we're going to get out of a global pandemic, we've got to have much more global coordination. I think one of the things we've learned is, without global coordination, it's very hard to fight a global pandemic."
Virus Expert Said Don't Worry About Booster Shots Right Now
"I have to tell you, Martha, I'm not thinking about boosters right now," said Dr. Jha. "These vaccines look so incredibly good and so durable that I don't think most Americans are going to need a booster this year. They might at some point next year. I know we have heard from the companies that people might need a booster within the year….We have got to pay attention to the data. If the data suggests that there are starting to be more breakthrough infections, then maybe. But I expect that if people — if we're going to get boosters, it'll be in 2022 and maybe even beyond."
How to Get Through the Rest of This Pandemic Safely
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.